Posts By: Christy

Healthy Candlelight

Posted on March 24, 2016 by - Environmental Tips

What could be better than candles burning on a cold winter’s night? I invite you to indulge yourself with soy or beeswax candles. But for indoor air quality, I suggest you avoid the easier-to-find paraffin variety.

Paraffin vs Soy or Beeswax:

Research at South Carolina State University in 2009 compared emissions from paraffin wax and soy candles, all of which were non-scented, non-pigmented and contained no dyes. Researchers explained that paraffin candles produced significantly more soot than others, and found that paraffin candles emitted sharp peaks of hazardous chemicals such as benzene and toluene. Soy and beeswax candles did not emit significant levels of these chemicals.

Fine Particulate Matter:

Fine particulate matter (PM) is a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets in the air which are small enough to penetrate the respiratory system further than larger particles. Fuel combustion, including candle-burning, can create fine PM. The US EPA explains that a well-designed and maintained candle emits negligible fine PM because almost all the particles are consumed by the flame. But poor candle composition and design, wick length or drafty air can lead to smoldering, which can create PM beyond ambient air quality standards. In addition, blowing out candles can instantly create a large amount of PM. The EPA recommends extinguishing the flame with a wet cloth, scissors or a snuffer.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons:

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PHAs) are products of incomplete combustion. Indoor sources include candles and incense. A study by the Centers for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research found that five-year old children exposed to high levels of PHAs scored 4 points lower on standardized intelligence tests than less exposed children.

Shopping:

Soy candles are easier to find these days, including at stores such as Target. Beeswax candles require a little more effort to find, but there are plenty of online sources. While beeswax candles tend to cost more than others, they burn much longer. And they emit a natural, warm honey smell. So, enjoy soy or beeswax candlelight tonight!

Birds on the Wing

Posted on March 24, 2016 by - Environmental Tips

Birds may be the most welcome harbingers of spring. Colorful to see, a delight to hear, birds lend grace and beauty to our surroundings and provide natural insect control. To make your residence or neighborhood an inviting sanctuary for birds, create places for them to nest, feed, drink, and wash. Add to your yard or landscape a birdhouse or two, feeders, and birdbaths.  Welcome spring with sights and sounds.  

Green Drinks – April 6, 2016

Posted on March 23, 2016 by - Community Events, In the News

Join us at April’s Green Drinks as we celebrate Earth Day! April 6 from 5-7, at Duke’s Alehouse & Kitchen, 110 N Main Street in Crystal Lake. We’ll focus on trees and the services they provide for us. We’ll have some local tree seedlings free for the first folks who arrive, thanks to the Arbor Day Foundation and a generous donation.

Our program will be provided by Ed Weskerna, who is the District Manager of the McHenry – Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District (MLSWCD). Ed attended Western Illinois University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy in 1978. Ed has been with the MLSWCD since March 1984.

SWCDs work to sustain natural resources to meet the needs of a growing population. For example, for the past 50+ years the McHenry –Lake SWCD has promoted trees as means of increasing wildlife habitat, reducing soil erosion by wind and water and conserving energy by promoting residential and farmstead windbreaks.

Green Drinks is sponsored by the Environmental Defenders and Duke’s Alehouse & Kitchen.

Recycle Those Political Signs!

Posted on March 17, 2016 by - Community Events, Environmental Tips, In the News

The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County is collecting political signs and sending them to New Vision Renewable energy, www.nvre.org.

New Vision Renewable Energy, a nonprofit organization based in Philippi, West Virginia., has distributed solar LED lights in over 28 countries around the world. Ruston Seaman, president and CEO of New Vision Renewable Energy, noted that the light panel is created, in part, from recycled political signs and assembled by disadvantaged students in West Virginia. We hope you will take a look at their website to get a more complete understanding of what New Vision Renewable Energy is about.

If you do not plan to re-use your signs following the election, we hope you will consider making them available to donate to this organization.

Your signs may be brought to the Defenders Recycling Drive in Woodstock on April 9, from 9 AM to Noon, at the Soil and Water Conservation District building, located at the southeast corner of Route 14 and Dean Street.

If that opportunity does not work for you, signs may be delivered to Chicago Logistic Service, 501 Davis Road, Elgin, Illinois, any time at the back of the building.

We will also be able to accept them at the Earth Day event, at Prairieview Education Center in Crystal Lake on April 23, from 11 AM to 4 PM.

Movie: “This Changes Everything”

Posted on March 15, 2016 by - Community Events

Mark your Calendars! EDMC is showing the documentary “This Changes Everything”, based on the book by Naomi Klein, at the MCC conference center on Wednesday, March 23 at 7pm. Doors open at 6:30.

“What if confronting the climate crisis is the best chance we’ll ever get to build a better world?

Filmed over 211 shoot days in nine countries and five continents over four years, This Changes Everything is an epic attempt to re-imagine the vast challenge of climate change.

Directed by Avi Lewis, and inspired by Naomi Klein’s international non-fiction bestseller This Changes Everything, the film presents seven powerful portraits of communities on the front lines, from Montana’s Powder River Basin to the Alberta Tar Sands, from the coast of South India to Beijing and beyond.

Interwoven with these stories of struggle is Klein’s narration, connecting the carbon in the air with the economic system that put it there. Throughout the film, Klein builds to her most controversial and exciting idea: that we can seize the existential crisis of climate change to transform our failed economic system into something radically better.”

Read about the movie HERE.

A Green Tip for Election Time

Posted on March 10, 2016 by - Environmental Tips

As our population and industrial activities increase, more pressure is placed on the environment that sustains us. We must elect leaders who will ensure that development does not come at the expense of nature.  Translate your opinion into action and cast your vote for a candidate that has a healthy environment as a goal and priority in their campaign.

If a healthy environment is important to you, show it in your vote, talk about it, and make the environment a priority with your action.  Finally, support organizations that fight for policy that protect our natural world locally, regionally, nationally, worldly.

EDMC Offers Scholarships

Posted on March 9, 2016 by - Community Events, In the News

The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County is offering two Entering College scholarships of $1,000 each to two outstanding high school seniors planning to pursue careers directly related to environmental studies.

To be eligible, the applicants must reside in and attend high school in McHenry County, have a respectable GPA, two letters of recommendation, plan to attend an accredited college or university, and complete an application, which is available online here: http://mcdef.org/what-we-do/environmental-scholarship and at the EDMC office: 110 S Johnson St, Ste. 106, Woodstock.

The application and accompanying documents are due in the EDMC office no later than April 15, 2016.

Recycling Drive – March 12, 2016, McHenry

Posted on March 9, 2016 by - Community Events, In the News

On Saturday, March 12th, the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County (EDMC) will conduct a recycling collection for fluorescent tubes, Styrofoam™, electronics, and batteries from 9am until noon at the Metra Station parking lot, 4005 Main Street, in McHenry. They continue to collect certain items which are not usually accepted by curbside programs, and which would be harmful to the environment if put in a landfill.

The group will accept clean polystyrene foam such as Styrofoam, VHS and cassette tapes, CDs and DVDs, packing peanuts and reusable, un-popped bubble wrap and electronics (most anything that plugs in or runs on batteries).

Specific donation amounts are requested for household alkaline and rechargeable batteries (50¢ per pound), car batteries, fluorescent tubes (50¢ to $1 each), TVs and computer monitors (50¢ per pound up to $30 is asked for each TV or monitor). Donations offset the costs of transportation and proper recycling for those particular items.

EDMC will also accept any kind of cloth items, including clothing, linens and rags, clean and bagged as well as shoes, tied together by their laces and placed in the bag.

Aluminum cans are accepted as a donation.

Environmental Defenders’ recycling drives are held on the second Saturday of each month, at various locations in the county. April’s drive will be in Woodstock.

For information about the recycling schedule and types of materials accepted, visit the group’s website at mcdef.org/recycling or find it on Facebook at facebook.com/EnvironmentalDefenders.

Become a new member of EDMC at the recycling drive, at the Basic or higher level, and get two coupons to recycle a television or monitor for FREE!

An alternate site for electronics, Styrofoam, & batteries is Chicago Logistic in Elgin 847-429-1926.

To Idle or not to Idle

Posted on March 2, 2016 by - Environmental Tips

We’ve heard that in winter your car needs to warm up.  But in fact, idling in winter has no benefit to newer model cars. Auto experts say no more than 30 seconds of idling is needed before you start driving.  The engine will warm up faster being driven.

This is because most modern cars do not have carburetors, which needed to warm up to work well.  New cars use electronic fuel injection.  This makes the problem of warming up the car before driving irrelevant.

Even short periods of idling are significantly damaging. Indeed, it is better to turn your engine off and start it again.  If every car in the U.S. idles for 6 minutes per day, 3 billion gallons of fuel is wasted annually and costs drivers $10 billion.  That’s lots of vehicle exhaust containing pollutants that are harmful to your family’s health and the environment that are unnecessarily being released into the atmosphere also contributing to climate change.

Information from the Washington Post – Dec. 29, 2014

Renewable Energy

Posted on February 3, 2016 by - Environmental Tips

Speak your mind if you want to see renewables change the face of energy.  And do your research to choose and elect candidates that support clean energy at the local, state and national level.   Here’s why.  The will of the people concerned about the environment created a demand for solar energy, and what happened?  The solar sector beat out the oil and gas extraction industry in 2014 creating almost 50% more jobs in the U.S. than those industries did.  These are jobs open to different backgrounds including manufacturing, installation, sales and administration.  Be an active participant with information.  It matters.

Source: The Solar Foundation:  National Solar Jobs Census 2014